Youth in America Today 1/4/98

Proverbs 22: 6
Page 961 Come Alive Bible

Jesus Christ gave new dignity to the home when He, the Son of God, chose it as the environment into which He came when He visited earth.

Marriage was the first institution established by God. Little wonder that it is a primary object of attack today. Thus, with marriage as the basis the home was the institution initially established by God.

One of the most strategic roles played by any human being is that of a parent. It is a challenge to be cherished. Let’s explore some realms of family life you may never have considered. Let’s take a look at youth in America today.

Let me urge you not to stop listening until this message ends. There are points at which it might be very discouraging. The conclusion offers encouragement hope.

To listening youth, as you hear certain parts of this message don’t give up on yourself, your peers, or think all adults have. We haven’t. Some of today’s youth stir optimism in the hearts of many of us.

As you hear of trends among youth today thank God He has created you as a unique individual. You are not shackled by heredity and environment. Both influence us dramatically, but our all wise and loving God has given us a free will to choose. That supersedes and overcomes both heredity and environment.

A Princeton research group recently posed the following question to a broad based random sampling of persons.

“What do you think is the biggest threat facing American society?” The collective response reveal, “Youth of today pose a greater threat than any foreign power.”

The second question: “Do you think youth of today will make the world of tomorrow a better place?” Two-thirds of the Americans interviewed said, “NO.”

Third question: “What three adjectives describe the youth of today?”


To youth listening, don’t quit listening now. Many of you who don’t fit that profile would, however, agree it does fit many youth. Unfortunately it may be a description of most.

Incidents such as those in Pearl, Mississippi, Paducah, Kentucky, and Santa Claus, Georgia raise serious questions. Appropriately question number one is “WHY?” What is causing trends among today’s youth that has resulted in some social scientists predicting that the dawning of the new millennium will be greeted by youth gangs controlling the streets of America?

Current conditions are appalling among students. In the last six months 24% of 13 year olds, and 60% of 17 year olds have attended a party where marijuana was available.

34% of 13 year olds and 75% of 17 year olds have friends who are a regular drinkers.

19% of 13 year olds and 51% of 17 year olds have seen drug sales on school grounds.

8% of 13 year olds and 27% of 17 year olds have class mates who died because of drugs or alcohol overdose. WHY? Let me share four contributing factors.

1. A criminology professor at Northwestern University says video games makes killing of human beings look like fun. Violent movies and TV stimulate the same impulses. The alleged shooter in Paducah, Kentucky named the film that inspired his actions.

2. Teaching relativism, that is, there are no moral absolutes, is causing the inability among many youth to express moral reservations about anything. Teaching multiculturalism and “values clarification,” as amazing as it may seem to many, has made it difficult for youth to express objections to human sacrifice, ethnic cleansing, and slavery. Educators who have been in the field for a number of years have seen a dramatic shift in attitudes toward these topics.

One philosophy professor found that up to 20% of his students were unable to say that what the Nazis did in World War II was wrong. Students couched their disapproval of mass killings in terms of personal preferences.

Not only is the holocaust viewed through eyes of tolerance and without being interpreted by moral absolutes so is the horror of slavery. It is a matter of preference. Whose preference? Have you ever heard of slaves preferring it?

The concept of relativism, that is, there are no moral absolutes, has a flip side also.

Whereas, slavery, mass killing, ethnic cleansing, and abortion are looked at objectively environmentalism and animal rights evoke a definite moral stand.

Amazing as it may seem, a growing number of professors are finding an increasing number of students who will not condemn slavery or the Holocaust readily assert that treating humans as superior to dogs and rodents is immoral.

A commitment to tolerance, relativism, there being no moral absolutes, is inhibiting many students from saying that some behavior is just plain wrong. If it isn’t considered wrong it is therefore permissible to do it. This is resulting in an increase in aberrant behavior such as killings in public schools.

3. A second factor is music. Don’t stop listening until the point is fully developed.

A study has been conducted involving three groups of mice.

Each group was tested as to how long it took them to work their way through a maze. Each group took approximately 10 minutes. Then the following was arranged.

-One group listened to no music.
-One group listened to the classical work of Mozart 10 hours a day.
-One group listened to hard rock 10 hours a day.

At the end of one month they were tested again.

-The group that listened to no music could now work their way through the maze in approximately 5 minutes, half the original time.
-The group that listened to Mozart solved the maze in 1 1/2 minutes.
-The group that listened to hard rock required 30 minutes.

4. The third case rests with parents.

A normal child is born with a brain weighing approximately 3 pounds. It consists of about 100 billion brain cells called neurons. No new ones are grown. Each brain cell is connected to thousands of other brain cells by electrochemical structures called synapse. Unused brain cells and connectors wither away and can not be revived.

Synapses form the wiring of the brain like a electrician wires a house. They allow various areas of the brain to communicate. Synaptic activity is the interaction of these cells causing the brain to function. The number and organization of connections in the brain influences everything from the ability to recognize letters to manage complex social relationships.

Within the brain there are various areas assigned specific functions. One area, the occipital lobe, is assigned the job of identifying what we see, another, the temporal lobe, processes spoken language, the temporal lobe also processes hearing, one area assesses whether we are in danger, and another of the several regions of the brain is where our capacity for social interaction is determined.

The neurons composing the brain are all formed before birth. Though there are no new neurons after birth it is then the wiring and re-wiring begins. That is, the synapses begin to connect.

At birth a baby has about 50 trillion synapses.

At eight months of age the number has grown to over 1,000 trillion synapses.

Are you ready for this? By age twenty the number has decreased from 1,000 trillion to only 500 trillion.

The decline coincides with the time when hormones kick in.

An infant’s brain is not simply a miniature adult brain. Certain regions of it are not developed at birth. Synaptic connections have to be developed.

For example, if a child cannot hear at birth that part of the brain doesn’t develop. The synaptic connections simply are not made. Even if by artificial means the child is later enabled to hear comprehension is difficult because that part of the brain is not developed. If a child is born deaf and doesn’t hear human speech by age 10 they will never understand language. That part of the brain isn’t properly developed and never will be.

The same principle is true of sight. Doctors now remove congenital cataracts from infants as early as possible. They now know that unless they do the neural connections between the eye and brain will fail to develop properly. If not corrected early on sight will never be right. If this isn’t accomplished by age 2 the child will never be able to see.

Early childhood experiences have a dramatic influence on the brain-wiring process. They can cause the final number of brain synapses in the brain to increase or decrease by as much as 25%. Which area may fail to develop is determined by a persons experiences in infancy.

Young parents, please hear this. As there are specific parts of the brain developed by sound and sight so there are certain parts of the brain are only developed by touch. The parietal lobe processes touch. Even a minimum of 15 minutes a day of being held and stroked three times helps develop those portions of the brain related to emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Remember like sight and hearing if they aren’t developed in infancy it is difficult for them to ever be developed.

CAT scans of the brains of children reared in the emotionally deprived environment of Eastern European child houses, such as in Romania, are revealing. Cat scans of those reared without loving human touch show the portion of the brains associated with social interaction is not developed.

This may be hard, but it is a hard fact American parents need to face. By not properly loving, reading to, talking to, holding and stroking children the part of their brains associated with social interaction isn’t developed. This makes them candidates for anti-social conduct as being seen across America. They can kill without emotion. They can destroy and have no remorse.

Listen carefully to the news reports you hear that describe the offender as showing no remorse.

These behaviors are not senseless. They arise from children adapting to and reflecting the world in which they have been raised.

The cost to society resulting in large part from parents not loving, holding, and caressing their children is staggering.

Between 1993 and 1996 the number of admissions to Youth Detention Centers increased from 15,762 to 23,284. The number held for 90 rose from 78 to 4,476.

Parents are participants in the deeds of their children. It is either for good or bad depending upon how they relate to them in infancy. Hear this: Same care-giver nurturing is essential to proper development. That includes social development. Like sight and hearing if this isn’t developed in infancy it can never be fully developed.

A child must have the opportunity to form a comfortable and secure relationship with a care-giver in order to promote their healthy emotional development. Parents, that means you need to devote time and expressive love to your children starting at birth. Parenthood requires being responsible for giving consistent love and emotional support to infants.

Our grandmothers were right when they said hold your child and talk to it. Now science is catching up with grandmother.


Young people remember these are contributing factors found in your heredity and environment. However, you don’t have to be controlled by your environment any more than a person has to be absorbed by the stream in which they swim. God has given you a free will and His Spirit to overcome these challenges.

Youth not given emotional support that developed the portion of their brain controlling social interaction have a challenge. It is a challenge which can be met, though with difficulty. You can willfully assert good moral judgement with proper help. Just as hearing aids and optic surgery help children born without sight or the ability to hear so the Lord Jesus Christ can help you gain moral victories.

Satan has four goals:
To deceive, discredit, discourage and defeat.